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Big Cash for Curse Reversal: Should Officials Shutter Salem Psychic?

A fortune teller in Salem, Mass. is accused of taking $16,800 from a client to protect him from evil.

Big Cash for Curse Reversal: Should Officials Shutter Salem Psychic?
When you step to the fortune teller's table, is it buyer beware or should the government protect you from fraud?

That's a question roiling residents of Salem, Mass. after news broke that a psychic  convinced a man to pay $16,800 to protect him from a curse.

City government  wouldn't let the psychic studio in question renew its license after the man/mark complained. In other cases, clients paid lesser amounts to have evil removed, so authorities say there's a pattern.

Regulations in the city known for its connection to the occult define fortunetelling as "the telling of fortunes, forecasting of futures or reading the past..." The ordinance does not include removing of curses or evil from a person.

The incident has sparked discussion about whether local authorities have any duty to protect the gullible. After all, there's an argument going back to Herman Melville and beyond that  there's nothing more American than a good con artist.

One commenter on  Salem Patch put it this way: "Anyone stupid enough to give serious money to a psychic is beyond our ability to protect them."

What do you think? Should fortune tellers and their ilk be regulated to prevent fraud? Or is it a universal truth that fools and their money should be parted as quickly as possible?

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